Spirit: Naomi Wolf Busts the “Aging Myth”

“I know — finally — what I like to wear and am comfortable not bothering with what I don’t. I love not being in physical competition with other women. I love being able to appreciate the beauty of other women and feeling appreciated myself — and appreciating myself.”– Naomi Wolf

Naomi Wolf is the embodiment of 40licious, and sums it up in her Washington Post story. Photo: Washington Post

I can’t recall being any great beauty, any time in my life. Except maybe a window at about 3 years old when my mother dressed me up and got some charming headshots taken of me in a dress and a hat with elephants painted on it. I was a little blonde with an updo.

Then a tomboy and after that an awkward teen with the absolutely wrong curly hair for the coveted Farrah Fawcett feathering. I spent my college years tromping around in a tiny skirt and Betsey Johnson lycra tank top with red roses all over it, bartending and waitressing. I don’t think I’d call that beautiful. But in my 20s Naomi Wolf brought us “The Beauty Myth,” a tome on the skewed perception and creation of American beauty. She validated my simultaneous rejection and craving for ideal beauty, and informed the rest of my life. I scoffed at women who were too “done” as I lived out part of my 30s in a cabin in the woods, in a uniform of jeans and Timberlands and a huge green wooly sweater stolen from an Irish boyfriend, and then would go to the salon and spend half my meager earnings on getting my hair done.

Now at 40licious, I’m not feeling the pull to start with the Botox shots. Yes, I’m slightly aghast when I see a picture that shows crinkle lines around my eyes, or the indomintable poof around my waist. (I think I’ve trained myself to not see these things in the mirror, holding my face a certain way, or positioning my body just so.)

And here’s Naomi Wolf again, this time in the Washington Post, summing up the 40licious credo: We’ve learned and earned our way to the sweet spot in our life, and we’re still hot. In her piece, she talks about how we were all so worried about becoming invisible, marginalized, pushed aside by newer younger blonder versions of ourselves. But it didn’t happen. It didn’t happen because we take care of ourselves. Because we went out and did interesting things and blazed our own paths. Which made us more attractive than any series of Botox injections could. And instead of being in competition with the 20somethings, we’ll help move them along to become amazing 40licious women like us.

Naomi, I hereby induct you into the 40licious Hall o’ Fame for how well you put into words what we’re thinking. Thank you for all you’ve done, all you do, and all you will do.

Vanessa McGradySpirit: Naomi Wolf Busts the “Aging Myth”

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